Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Identity theft: when someone uses your identity to get a job

When you think about identity theft, you usually think of thieves using your personal financial information to steal from you or others by getting credit in your name. There’s another aspect of identity theft that is a growing problem.

Illegal immigrants often buy a stolen Social Security number to that they can get jobs. Because they’re not applying for credit, nothing will show up on your credit report, and the theft of your information may not be uncovered for years.

But if someone is working under your SSN, it can create havoc with your own income taxes and Social Security payments and benefits. I saw a news story recently about a woman who spent years trying to get straight with the IRS and prove to them that she really had been a stay-at-home mom and had not earned any money for years, even though a number of illegal immigrants had been working using her identity.

According to an article in the New York Times, about 7 million illegal immigrants are working under stolen SSNs. Many of these stolen SSNs belong to children, who might not learn of the fraud until they start working. It doesn’t matter how you feel about immigration issues, if you are a victim of this type of ID theft, you could spend thousands of hours and a lot of money getting it straightened out.

What can you do? If you are 25 or older, the Social Security Administration will send you an annual statement of your earnings and benefits eligibility. Take the time to review this statement and make sure it matches your own records. You can also request a statement from Social Security at any time by going to www.ssa.gov. If you have children, review their accounts as well as your own, and do it on a regular schedule.




Blogger sweetpancakes said...

sounds very useful!! here's another advice I'd like to share with you and your readers, its about Putting a Credit Freeze On Your Credit Report to prevent id theft!

8:59 AM  

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